a pocketful of LOVE

oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog


oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog


oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog

Okay, I've disengaged the caps lock. But I'm still hollering inside. 

This past weekend, I used every inch of the communal joy going around to make one of the loudest, happiest, silliest things I've ever stitched. My beloved janky store (39th street, red trim, handwritten closing signs up for the past five years) currently has three bolts of this Moschino print in stock. I went in last week for some regular old denim, and this stuff scream whispered at me from the back left corner of the store, burning itself into my brain until I went stomping back to snag a yard and a half.

This is the hacked bottom half to Salme's Yoke dress. The fit on the bodice gives me grief, but the skirt is perfection, especially when one flares it out a bit for a swoopier silhouette. As drafted, it's more fitted. I've made it with minor tweaks a ton of times. I used this momentous weekend as an excuse to try something I've always wanted to try on a skirt, but never did, due to the side eye it would surely incur from the Rugster...

oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog


And yes, when I walked out of the house in this, I got major side eye from my man, accompanied by an appreciative laughter that bubbled up uncontrollably. Got the same response from several complimentary ladies and gents on the street! If the print doesn't make you giggle the pockets will...

oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog

oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog

To be honest, size-wise they feel just about right for my gorilla paws. They held my phone, keys, and huge camera-- and that was only one pocket! It was like having an assistant ON MY CLOTHING! 

However, I took these shots solo...because....

oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog


oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog

That's okay, there's another guy in my life who is all in on this project. If you happen to follow me on instagram, you've seen the new purple man. I can't wait to introduce you to him properly, but for now we're having a secret love affair. 

This skirt was our first date, a getting-to-know-you make. A spiked coffee date, if you will. TNT pattern, lots of straight & topstitching, a buttonhole, and fun with bar tacks. And of course playing with mixed materials, as the top left corner shows: super soft home dec trim from Vardhman on 39th.

oonaballoona | a pocketful of love | moschino midi skirt | a sewing blog

QUE DEMURE OONA! I caught myself mid-twirl here, and so did the bros at the gym across the street. Bros! Focus! Those abs aren't going to six pack themselves!

This is the skirt I make every Thanksgiving, usually in maxi length. And if this weekend wasn't cause for some Thanks-giving, I don't know what it. Man, we're a blip in time here in the scope of things. A mere 48 years ago, SCOTUS ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. UNDER FIFTY YEARS AGO. Does that not blow your mind? Pretty much ALL of my family was committing a crime, depending on where they set up their home & hearth. Where will we be fifty years from now? Hopefully shaking our heads bemusedly at how it took us so long to get to this next step. Hopefully in a country without pieces of cloth that remind us of how we are divided, rather than how we are human, and so very much alike.

Love. Might sound cheesy, but it's undeniable: we've got lots of that in common.


Sewing For Muses

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | sewing for muses

Although I thoroughly enjoy Facebook as my sewing superheroine alter ego, I avoid it under my civilian handle like the plague. Ruggy is the same (though he has no happy secret identity to scroll by). We'll both jump on for about five minutes a month, tapping out after liking all the pictures of kiddos and anniversaries we can stand.

On one such five minute spree, I came across a post from a wonderful chick that I had the pleasure to work with acting-wise, the kind of chick that I won't get that pleasure with much, because the handful of times I've seen her since have been in audition waiting rooms, up for the same part. Chicks in waiting rooms are usually something to be avoided. But every time we stumbled upon each other, we had the kind of easygoing, fun conversation that is borne of a person who is confident and relaxed about the situation, who knows that they can do the best they can, and if the part is hers, it's hers. If not, it doesn't change your rockstar status. So why not enjoy the awesome superheroine sitting next to you?

I try to be that person in the waiting room. Krysta is that person in the waiting room. And she's carried that confidence into her latest challenge, a battle with breast cancer.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | sewing for muses

When I read the update on Krysta's diagnosis, I headed over immediately to her just christened blog, and knew I wanted to make something for her. I understood, on some level, what she meant when she said she wanted to make her life beautiful. I've dealt with some pretty difficult health issues-- actually, during the time that Krysta and I worked together, unbeknownst to my castmates. Nothing so serious as what she is dealing with, this is not about metoo metoo metoo, that's SO cliche actress in a waiting room. But it struck a major chord with me because I know, on a minor level in comparison, how a sickness can define your life, and how something as simple as what you put on your ailing body can change how you feel. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | sewing for muses

You know what? I might not like to stitch for others, but I LOVE to sew for amazing women. Over the past year I've sewn up almost a dozen garments for a handful of muses. It's nerve wracking, my desire for perfection is increased by a bazillion when I know it's meant for someone else, but man, oh my god, it's so rewarding to see it on the inspiration!

You can see what I made for this fabulous lady over on her blog, Chemo Couture. She absolutely one hundred percent disproves that shite about the clothes making the person-- she makes these clothes. And might I suggest reading from the beginning of the "whole long boob story?" You'll see why anyone would want to sit down and gab with her in a waiting room and forget about the audition completely.


My Favorite Sewing Goodies #1

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | schmetz

Any sewist will tell you: size DOES matter. We're a truthful bunch. I have at least a dozen sizes and types of hard steel at my fingertips. THEY ARE MY PLAYTHINGS. I use them up and toss the shafts aside without a second thought.

Size 12 is my favorite. Naturally.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | schmetz

(Actually, I'm a fan of all sizes. At least, when it comes to Schmetz.)

Presenting the second installment of reviewification! Two months ago, I reviewed my Maytag iron (many of you took the plunge based off of it, and I hope you love it as much as I do!), and I thought I was high time I enabled shared some more. 

First up, the supersize-me box of Schmetz Universal 80/12s. They come 100 to a box. Do the math of a 5 pack at your local Joann's and it should be a no brainer...but the thought of all those needles floating around loose in there kept me from it. However! There's no need to worry-- the needles are layered between slices of anti-corrosion paper, and sandwiched into the case with this little plastic flexible doodad that protects them during shipping. Awesomeness.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | clover quilting pins

I'm going to shout now. MY. NEW. FAVORITE. PINS. Quilters, do you roll around in your piles of bespoke bedding and cackle at the thought of allllll the quilting notions we garment sewists don't know about? YOUR TOOLS ARE THE BEST! The latest quilter's notion to grace my little sewing corner are these Clover Fine Quilting Pins. That teeny white guy next to my green & gold glass head beasties is a Clover Silk Pin, which is nice and all, but good lord did I have to search for one that wasn't bent so I could show you the difference. The diameter is only a touch thicker (0.6mm quilting versus 0.5mm silk), but it's enough to keep my ham handed digits from bending them to bits. And lengthwise, that's an extra half inch of steel. YEAH GIVE IT TO ME BABY YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE. The length makes things so much more nimble. My gorilla paws never felt so deft, I can pin one handed now.

There was one red headed silk pin camouflaged on my pincushion when I first broke these out, and any time my fingers found it I would laugh. LAUGH AND POINT AT THE WEAKLING SILK PIN! I mean, yeah, sometimes you gotta go for a silk pin. But since putting these new guys out, my hands have been so happy.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | kai scissors

Also making my hands happy, ever since Carolyn gave me a pair two years ago: Kai Ergonomic Scissors. I started my sewing journey with Ginghers, thinking they were the best and why bother with anything else? And for some they remain the best. But the first time I cut with a pair of these, my hands sang.

On a whim, I bought the white sheathed pair from a Japanese pharmacy--sadly, the handle is not ergonomicifed, so I'm not linking them, as I'm only going to direct you to things I adore. But for 14 bucks, I couldn't pass up the coolness of them. And they're good to have in my arsenal, for friends who visit and want to learn a thing or two (but NOT ON MY SCISSORS).

I dropped the green ergonomic pair some time ago (don't. drop. your. scissors). A new pair is on its way to me, after a fruitless Brick & Mortar search in the Garment District. Every shopowner I asked scoffed at the stainless steel nature of Kais, but if your hands hurt when you cut, a pair of Ergomomics will fix that and leave your bank account smiling. And I'm all about ALL of that. You can grab them for around 20 bucks

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | lance needles

Speaking of, let's give some love to the brick and mortar, shall we? Panda Thread on 38th was one such store that gave my request for Kais the side eye. I've been in this shop a bunch over the years, always leaving empty handed after a brief conversation with any number of humorless humans behind the counter. Last month was the first time I actually made a purchase. It's the kind of joint where you have to ask to see anything, and I'm not big on permission.

This go 'round, I entered the conversation without mirth. When in Rome, yo. I needed better needles for handsewing silk. These guys were presented in a large box, my opponent unwrapping packages for my inspection with such careful reflection, I wasn't sure I was allowed to actually lay hands on the merchandise. You would have thought we were examining Tiffany diamonds and not 2 dollar packs of needles. Five unwrappings later, size 11 darners were the winner (we had also allowed each other a smile or two). Much better than the Clover imports I found at SIL-- which were three times the price, and three times the diameter shaft wise. Again, it's all about the shaft. This shaft is so fine I want to sing to it.

(Side note: I've said shaft, length, diameter, and finger so far. Just keeping track.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | gutermann mara

My new friend also had Gutermann Mara 120 for 2.50 per 1000m spool. As far as I can tell, Mara 120 is a bit finer than what they sell on smaller spools to home sewists. Again, you had to choose your colors from a catalogue and call out your choices. That picture in no way does the color justice. It's full on fluorescent. I chose three neutral shades to begin with: charcoal, ivory, and...That one is neon! my gentleman called from the shelves. Are you sure you want that?


I earned another smile.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | swedish tracing paper

Let's end with the granddaddy of them all, the Big Kahoona, the reason I trudged into the murky waters of affiliation in the first place: Swedish. Tracing. Paper. This is one of those items you hear about, always in glowing tones, and you just don't get it until you use it. I've used dotted, vellum, medical... I love none of it so much as this. It's akin to the texture of a coffee filter, and you can sew right through it. I trace off my pattern and sew it right up, multiple times even, it takes pressing and folding and crumpling like a champ, and in the end I'm left with a perfect pattern. Super hard to define how great this is, but for example, the fit of my Vogue bodice on my quilted christmas dress was a product of muslining with this paper. Obviously, you don't want to hulk out on it, it is paper after all, but if you have some extra dough and have always wondered... go for it.

That's it for installment #1, I'm hoping to do something like this once a month (whether it's a roundup of notions or a big find that needs a whole post). Did you find something intriguing here? I'd love to hear about your favorite sewing goodies!

as always, i'll let you know if i include affiliate links, and yes indeedy, the non brick & mortar items here are ye old amazon links! i only link to things i love and use myself. and, if you're in NY, i highly recommend stopping into panda thread. just wear your game face.


a cup of chill

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 8814 | wax print maxi dress

I'm going to name this dress My Mysterious Boobs.

Boobs of mystery! Boobs of intrigue!!! How is it you fit neither A, B, or C of this multi-sized Vogue pattern? WHAT SORT OF FANTASY LAND DO YOU COME FROM?! 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 8814 | wax print maxi dress

This is Vogue 8814, the top half, at least. Comes in four cup sizes. As you can imagine, with three failed tracings I never got to D. No, I just kept throwing my hands up in defeat and screaming away from the swedish tracing paper tacked to my abused dress form. Every five days or so, I'd come back to the pattern pieces I'd shoved furiously behind my fabric shelf, thinking I'd found the answer. Lather rinse repeat.

I think it's safe to safe that I am not a multiple cup size girl. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 8814 | wax print maxi dress

I'm also SO not the girl for this pattern. Y'all. Y'all short waisted thangs out there. THIS IS NOT THE DROID FOR YOU. The bottom half of this jammie should have diagonal panels and a bias flounce, but those awesome seam lines mean that raising the waist is no bueno. And I tried. A lot.

Finally, I abandoned ship and draped a skirt with side godets and a CB zip. That ship was burning for DAYS before I jumped into the water. I'm surprised my hair wasn't on fire.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 8814 | wax print maxi dress

And yet... and yet... as I write this I'm remembering I had another idea... to take the pattern up diagonally rather than straight across.... I am 100% sure that this will work... and yet... and yet... I am also 100% sure that this will produce another flaming rage quit...


I should have Ruggy make up a song for me. Sometimes when I'm going off and he's like ENOUGH ALREADY he'll make up a song out of whatever I'm saying. Just last week, when I tried to explain to him that "chill" is just a word and it's also a good practice this is what he came up with:



It's a catchy tune. I say "just chill!" a lot. He hates it. AND YET... HE HAS NOW WRITTEN MY THEME SONG FOR THE SUMMER. I'm not singing it here in this picture, but it looks like it! It's also the closet he got to a front bodice shot. Am I upset that we didn't get a close up? Hey man, no worries! JUST CHILL!

I'm also super relaxed about the pregnancy vibe capabilities of this dress. This is seconds into a little gust of wind-- breezes catch the side godets and plump the dress out riiiiight up the middle all the way to My Mysterious Boobs. If asked, I will tell people I'm having a fabric baby. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 8814 | wax print maxi dress

The wax fabric is certainly aiding in raising my chill factor. If I did have a closeup of the bodice, you might see two little darts at center front that Should Not Exist. Then again, you might not-- I'm trying, unsuccessfully, to find the side godet here. Thank Yoda Yaweh and little bouncing Baby Buddha for crazyface wax prints!

And thank Sarah! This beauty was part of a BHL tester's stash replenishment from Grey's Fabrics, back when the Holly was being put through her paces. (Print numero uno is here. I wish I could find a way to wear them both at the same time. Maybe this can happen on the Island of Mysterious Boobland.)


Jumping ship!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | bloglovin

Back in August of 2013 we started a little campaign to create a Sewing category on Bloglovin. Almost 1700 votes and 23 months later, it's here! (AND HEY OH HAI VERONICA!)

Now, I've never been a fan of categorization, per se, especially as a mixed chick actress who comes across roadblocks daily in terms of labels, BUT, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy the bejesus out of this little classification. Mainly because of this:

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | bloglovin


Look y'all, I love me a good Diy/Craft blog, but when my fingers do the walking to find new fodder, I'm looking for 80% sewing and 20% glue gun. 

I'm always baffled when people on the street are surprised to hear that I sew. Generally, their view of sewing is of extinct Home Ec classes. Of course, we know better. Of course, we are all BRILLIANT SPARKLY FABULOUS THINGS that wear BRILLIANT SPARKLY FABULOUS THINGS that we made ourselves!*

And in my opine a new dedicated Sewing category on the top blog reader on the web is a great way to let your friends, romans, countrymen (not to mention, businesses) know that sewing is back, yo. 

So! If you'd like to make the switch from Crafting to Sewing, just click on your little icon in the upper right hand corner, next to the search bar (below, mine is that little yellowish circle of me with scissors in my mouth). In the drop down menu, directly under Profile, choose Blog Analytics...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | bloglovin

Which brings you to your super fancy analytics page.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | bloglovin

Click "edit blog info", and in the pop up window you can choose which category you'd like your corner of the web to exist in.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | bloglovin

And that's it! (You can also just click on the temporary banner Bloglovin added for us on the feed page.) It takes several hours for Bloglovin to update your info, but that Sewing category is growing by leaps and bounds. Certainly, the posts here will still be about any number of things, who can tell the inner workings of my noggin, but I'm so stoked to find new sewing peeps. Love ya, Free People. Love ya, Beautiful Mess. Love ya, I Spy DIY. I'll come check on you from time to time, but me and my friends gots some stitching to do.

(*not necessarily sparkly, but always brilliant and fabulous.)


curio-ser and curio-ser

For years, the "cast members" at Sephora gave me a respectful berth. Eying the swatches of color strung along my upper arms, they would nod and smile, acknowledging a customer with obvious experience and no need of assistance, moving on to the next victim.

Now, I wander into Sephora like Bambi after the fire, cautiously eyeing products, glancing at labels the length of novellas, sadly leaving bottles and tubes on the shelves, and totally ruining the day of any cast member that thinks they can find what I'm looking for. One run through of the laundry list of things that my skin is sensitive to is enough to break their spirit.

I LOVE makeup. I LOVE skincare. It's half of my freaking professional uniform! Godsakes, first thing you do when you arrive on set is head to Hair & Makeup to start the works! Even before rehearsal, you're in the chair. But as much as I love product, it does not love me back (and neither does the makeup artist, who is handcuffed to my laundry list these days). Specifically, the world takeover of soy has caused me major (literal) headaches. IT'S IN EVERYTHING MAN! SOY IS THE NEW BLACK! And even when you read the ingredients and think you're safe, well wait a minute, it's donned a different cap! Lecithin! Tocopherol! Glycerin! 

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go all Sephora on you.

The summer of 2013, my face was several shades of blue, green, black and glitter for a character in a otherworldly musical. I had an arsenal of skincare for my nightly removal of heavy stage makeup. My skin was mad at me, my hormones were wacko, and I was fed up. I called every brand I was using at the time, and asked one question: do you use soy or any soy derivatives? I was mostly met with what I could only imagine was confused blinking on the other end of the line. Here and there, someone would be able to give me a definitive answer, but for the most part, it was a question that they weren't aware needed answering. Since then, I've been telling myself I ought to share my research with y'all, but for the most part it was a sad little list of so-so product that made me wistful for the days when I didn't know better. Y'all, I'm using rubbing alcohol for deodorant. Rubbing. Alcohol.

Cut to about a month ago, when Kristin, of K Line, dipped her toes in the waters of beauty product with Curio: Potions for Skeptics. She asked if anyone might be interested in trying it out, and I raised my hand. And by raised my hand I mean JUMPED UP AND DOWN FLINGING ALL EXTREMITIES MADLY IN THE DIRECTION THAT I *THINK* CANADA IS IN. 

(Ruggy has recently informed me I've been wrong in my geographic assumption for years. I'm sticking to it.)

I don't know if you've run into Kristin, and her creative process. Thorough is an understatement. Exhaustive to the point of her own exhaustion might be a better descriptor. She treats patterns like a science experiment that must be completed at the risk of humanity's demise. She has that desire to find the best of everything, and enjoy the hell out of it once found.  

When I asked her that same crusader's question, she had answers. And she questioned herself, as a truly curious skeptic will. She treated my concerns exactly as I hoped she would: with the same inquisitive, magnifying glass intensity that she does most everything else. I ended up with several modified Curio products that I LOVE. Dudes. Can you imagine walking into Sephora and asking them to modify a product!?

So here's the post I've been planning since summer of 2013, and here's the new stuff in my bag: Serum A, Body Oil, and Arnica Salve. Body oil goes on right after shower, arnica salve goes on right after ballet, and HOLY EVERYTHING BATMAN Serum A goes on morning and night and sometimes during cocktails, it's just that good. Serum A is, for real, my favorite part of my routine. Take it from a recovering junkie-- this shizz is good. Kristin is adding new beauties to the shop as she deems them worthy, and you bet your moisturized booty I'll be adding more potions to my bag.


I volunteered to try several of Kristin's Curio products, and I'm hollering about them because I love them! I also love the bathroom, Ruggy. It's beeyootiful.